Why Tua Tagovailoa's extension will make or break Chris Grier and the Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa will get a massive extension this offseason and Chris Grier is discussing the deal with his agents.

Jan 13, 2024; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) meets
Jan 13, 2024; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) meets / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Tua Tagovailoa will soon make more money on paper than Patrick Mahomes and the Miami Dolphins will either ascend or fall as a result. It all depens on Chris Grier.

The NFL Combine is more than just players being poked and prodded. It is a source of annual embers starting to flare in the form of rumors. In this case, it isn't a rumor. Chris Grier told media members that the Dolphins and Tua are discussing a new contract extension.

Grier stated that he has been in contact with Tua's agents since the end of the season and will meet with them face-to-face at the combine. There have been rumors leaving Indianapolis that the deal will put Tua in the $50 million a year range. The same range as Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Jalen Hurts.

The Miami Dolphins are putting their future in the hands of Tua Tagovailoa and they will need to rely on something they are not very good at. Drafting.

Tua is going to eat a massive portion of cap space in the next three years. It will be team-friendly this year and then balloon next season and will balloon the season after and the season after that. As Armando Salguero pointed out in his latest article on Outkick.com, the Dolphins will not be able to afford those huge trades they have been making the last few years.

But there is a lot more than simply not being able to make big trades. The Dolphins have to rely on the ability of Chris Grier to make sound and smart decisions with his draft picks because the only way they stay competitive, is if they can supplement the roster they have right now with incoming youth.

Miami will need to figure out their future before their future arrives. They have to have a plan in place and an alternate plan when that one doesn't work. Inevitably the first plan never does.

Miami will spend big on Tua. The biggest contract the Miami Dolphins have ever handed out. They will need to re-sign Jaylen Waddle who Chris Grier said will "not" be traded and is someone they want in Miami for a long time. They have to re-sign Jaelan Phillips, and Jevon Holland, and this year alone must make decisions on Christian Wilkins, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Robert Hunt.

Chris Grier has to replace Xavien Howard. He has to replace Connor Williams and any of those three mentioned above who are not re-signed this year. He needs money to do that. Not Stephen Ross' money, that isn't a problem. He needs NFL cap money. Sure, it is manipulative but it is still there.

Consider the New Orleans Saints. For the last five years, they have manipulated the cap and added some big names in free agency, but they are not winning anything. They might be competitive with some teams but no one sees the Saints as a Super Bowl competitor.

In Miami, anything short of a deep playoff run or a Super Bowl is considered a letdown. That brings up the question of Tua Tagovailoa. Can he lead this team to the Super Bowl if the roster around him isn't elite? I ask this because the roster around him, in another 2 years, may not be elite.

Chris Grier hasn't shown he is consistent with his draft selections. We can say all we want about Phillips, AVG, and Wilkins but we are also potentially watching them all walk out the door. Last year Grier extended Austin Jackson and for the first 3 years of his career, it was a countdown to him being labeled a bust.

Tua Tagovailoa
adidas Debuts Brand Campaign in Vegas with Star-Studded Roster of Athletes / Joe Scarnici/GettyImages

Do you, as a Dolphins fan, have faith that Grier can make the draft day selections for the next few years that will keep the Dolphins competitive? He thinks the team can do just that. It may be the end of his career in Miami if he can't. In fact, if the Dolphins don't stay competitive with Tua's big contract, Miami could see Grier and McDaniel leaving the Dolphins in another two or three years.

The key to the Miami Dolphins' future success is not Tua Tagovailoa. It is the way Grier molds the roster without having the ability to drain his draft coffers for big-named players in a trade and bigger guaranteed salaries that he will not be able to afford.

If Tua can succeed without having guys like Tyreek Hill or a beefy offensive line and a defense that doesn't need new players like Bradley Chubb and Jalen Ramsey, the Dolphins will be fine but if he needs that support, the Dolphins better hope they become a power running offense.

I recently said that Miami Dolphins fans should be thrilled with a Tua extension and that remains my feeling. I think Miami needs to lock down this position after 20 years of failing. But it does come with a potentially big price and that price is not money. It's the potential for failure if he can't overcome his inconsistencies. It could also lead to the end of Chris Grier as the Dolphins' general manager.